Our Governor is a former Big Tech guy, and I am pretty certain the State IT Department is a trial and a headache for him. He was successful in the private sector, but this is the public sector, and things are somewhat different here.
For some reason, the State Unemployment Office, and only the State Unemployment Office, is supported by an extremely old computer system for which there is no IT support in the State. In fact, there is no support for the system or its programs in the entire US. The only people in the entire world who still know how to fix this system are in Latvia.
The Governor is really upset about the millions of dollars the State is paying Latvians to keep the system up and running. This has apparently been going on for years. He is proposing a huge item in this biennium’s budget (yes, the ND legislature only meets every two years) to replace the system. I would assume the legislature would go along with this, but you never know. It may cost less in the short-term to keep employing Latvians instead of a huge capital outlay right now. We shall see how the upcoming legislative session turns out.
What country would you like to visit to repair things or teach people skills? What country would you like to hire repair people from, if it meant they would come to your house to make the repairs? What would you want them to fix?
Our grandson is 2 1/2. His parents are good about keeping a steady schedule for meals and naps and bedtime. Prior to our visit he suddenly started a period of change into a new developmental level, and he became disorganized and his schedule became disrupted. His appetite decreased, he didn’t want to nap, and he did everything he could to delay going to sleep at night.
A typical bedtime would see Son or DIL getting him ready for bed, reading the requisite three books, and putting on music to lull him to sleep. In the past it only took one song to do the trick, but during our visit it turned into multiple requests for “one more song”. Many times after it was quiet and we thought he was asleep, we found him with his light on and his bed full of books. “I reading, Daddy” he would say with an impish grin. Then came multiple requests to use the bathroom, usually with no results. Every time he got up, he also needed to be tucked back in bed. They wisely have a baby gate in the doorway of his room so at least he has to stay there and can’t come out at will.
Son and DIL took our advice to put duct tape over grandson’s light switch so he couldn’t turn on the bedroom light. He has a night light. They also found longer songs and stories to play continuously so that he wouldn’t keep asking for one more song. They even agreed to stand firm and not go up to his room when he made his stay-awake ploys once he was in bed and was supposed to be going to sleep.
On Saturday night after he had been put to bed after several attempted diversions on his part, I walked past grandson’s room His door opened, and he looked at me with big brown eyes and he said in a very plaintive voice “Oma, will you tuck me in?” Well, of course Oma tucked him in! That sort of plea is impossible to resist. I am happy to report that his plea to me was the last of the evening, and he slept for twelve hours despite my failure to stand firm.
How are you at standing firm? When is it hard for you to maintain your resolve?
Our day and evening will be spent with our busy 2 year old grandson and his parents. We typically don’t whoop it up much for New Year’s. We will cook a nice dinner and probably go to bed early.
My mother spent New Year’s Eve of 1944 in New York City with cousins who grew up in Manhattan. They took her to the Stork Club. We have a photo somewhere of her in a fancy hat holding a glass of champagne. The only thing she ever said about it was that she didn’t like it when everyone started kissing each other at midnight. I wish I had asked her more about the club and her experiences in New York.
What will today and this evening be like for you? Any memorable New Year’s Eves for you or your family?
We have had a safe deposit box at our local bank for 30 years. We also have a fire proof security box in our bedroom closet for things we might need in a pinch when the bank is closed, like passports. (Who knows when we might have to make a quick getaway out of the country!)
Our bank built a new headquarters across the street from the old building that is to open next month. We who have safe deposit boxes have to make an appointment with a teller to remove the stuff from the current box and walk over with her to the new bank and new box. Same lock, same keys, same box number. We did the transfer last Monday. The teller told us they have had all sorts of customers cashing long forgotten savings bonds they are finding as they clear out their boxes. We didn’t have any surprises like that, but it has been several years since we visited our box. Our box is full of insurance policies, the abstract for our house, and our wills and POA documents. We have copies of those last things in the bedroom closet as well.
The impish part of me wants to put some weird thing in the safe deposit box to startle our children when they open it after our demise. Husband suggested a roach clip. I thought of springy cloth snakes that pop out when the lid to the box is opened. If I actually did that, I know that whatever child opened the box would exclaim “Mom!”. We shall see what I do.
Have you ever had a safe deposit box? What did you keep in it? What would you like to put in one that would surprise your heirs?
The only South Dakota news I noticed Saturday in the Fargo Forum was an article about a woman cracking open an egg that had four yolks. Well, it is 1 in 11,000,000,000 occurrence, but I still imagine there is a lot more going on South Dakota than that. Plus, it is such a stereotypically Midwestern, rural story.
I have become a real news junkie over the past four years, mainly out of anxiety. I do so look forward to the future when news might become more dull.
What sort of beat would you want to cover if you were a reporter? What print media do you like to read?
Yesterday, Daughter napped wearing a very soft and fleecy hoodie we got her for Christmas. She received three pieces of clothing from us, and a nice bubble bath/soap/skin cream set from her brother and sister in law. We always give her candy in her stocking, along with annoying things like parsnips and other root vegetables. She is supremely happy.
I never really need anything, but I was delighted with the biography of Bela Bartok from Husband. Daughter gave me two Halloween tomten (one with vampire fangs) , and set of tomten salt and pepper shakers. Husband got a book about Malcom X and Martin Luther King from Daughter. He got a fancy grill and a sausage stuffer and grinder earlier this year that he said were his Christmas presents. We are all happy. A friend of Daughter gave us a wood burned portrait of Millie, our deceased tortie. It was beautiful.
Next week we go to Brookings with presents for our family there. Grandson is getting floor puzzles and new shoes. Son is getting therapy books, a James Bond DVD set, and a baking steel. DIL is getting clothes. They give out specific lists so they are easy to shop for. No surprises, but no dismay, either.
What was your favorite present this year? What were your best and worst presents in the past? Do you give out Christmas lists?
Husband announced the other day that he considers Gjetost to be a comfort food. I have never considered it to be so, but he was really happy when he found some at the store earlier this month. It is too sweet and chalky for my tastes.
This is a year that has screamed a need for comfort. It has been hard to find at times over the past ten months. I think the worst day in memory was yesterday, as we anxiously waited to see if Daughter’s plane left Denver with her on it. We hadn’t seen her for a year. Her flight into Bismarck on Tuesday was cancelled, and she couldn’t get a flight home until Christmas Eve. She had an excellent time with her grandmother. though, which was a comfort to both of them.
I was so worried all day yesterday. I tried to distract myself with music. The King’s College Lessons and Carols service was a good start, but it was a really long day. I made some soup, cleaned the kitchen, played solitaire, did laundry, and wrapped some presents, all with a horrid sense of dread and apprehension. Our cat must have sensed my distress, as she stayed unusually close by me all day.
The only thing that would provide comfort for me was to hear that she was boarding her plane, and then to give her a big hug (but not, she insisted, until she showered to get the Covid germs off her). She was texting us in caps as she waited for the plane to take off.
What foods, books, music, people, places, activities, or other things give you comfort these days?
A grad school friend of mine from Montreal told the story of her father at meal time. They were a working class family, but at every meal her father would proclaim “Not even the Queen is eating a meal as good as this!”
I think that was a charming thing for him to say, and may have set the stage for gratitude from his family for what they had.
What do you imagine are the pros and cons of being the Queen? In what way is your life better than hers? What will you eat this holiday season that the Queen might be envious of?
I saw the most wonderful sign on my way to work yesterday. Taquiria el Monte Sinai was advertising a new location and taco special. I had not heard of this business before. Husband says it is run by an Evangelical Protestant Mexican Church. It made me wonder if their fish tacos were made from gefiilte fish! We also have a Hamburger ‘s meat store run by the Hamburger family, I think that is a great name, too.
What are some wonderful or wacky names of places, people, or businesses that you have encountered? Make up some names if you feel like it. What is your favorite Mexican food?
Husband and I played bells and sang in the choir in three church services yesterday, the last one our annual Lessons and Carols service with musicians from the local LDS Church. After each reading there is a hymn sung by the congregation and an ensemble performance.
Bell ringers wear gloves so that the oils from their hands don’t tarnish the bells. I inadvertently left my gloves in the pew in which I was sitting when I went up to play one of our pieces, and I didn’t want to hold up the service to run back to the pew, so I played naked, (without gloves, in bell ringer vernacular). Everyone else wore black gloves. I play in the back row, so I didn’t think anyone would notice. I hate forgetting things.
How is your memory these days? When have you forgotten something important? How do you keep track of important things?